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November 2021Vol. 22, No. 10CASA for Children Develops Family Engagement Pocket Guide

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and Texas CASA designed a toolkit to help child welfare professionals and court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) practice collaborative family engagement techniques. These strategies can help children and youth in care stay connected and maintain relationships with their support systems. The guide provides ways for professionals and advocates to gather insights about a family and identify who in the family network can be involved in case planning and decision-making. Although the guide was developed for professionals and CASAs in Texas, much of the information is pertinent to those in any location.

The guide discusses the following tools: 

  • Connectedness map: A map that uses shapes and lines to illustrate someone's connections to others
  • Ecomap: A map that illustrates someone's connections using arrows pointing toward and away from people to indicate one-way and reciprocal relationships
  • Circles of trust: A diagram of concentric circles that illustrates how close someone is to the subject based on their distance from the center of the circle
  • Genogram: A map of a person's family and how the members are connected
  • Mobility mapping: A timeline of a person's life with markers for places they've lived and significant people
  • Internet searching: A practice to track down information about an individual's family
  • Seneca Search: An online tool that helps find names, addresses, and contact information of family members
  • Out of country search: The process of tracking down relatives who live outside of the United States
  • Tree of Life: An illustration of a tree used to help an individual reflect on their life